The Provincial Grand Lodge of East Lancashire
The Provincial Grand Lodge of East Lancashire

50 years in Freemasonry – WBro Fred Chorlton

Monday, October 21st, 2019

Chris Welton (APGM), Fred Chorlton, Keith Maguire (WM)

September 12th was a very special evening for WBro Frederick Denis Chorlton at Volunteer Lodge No 2905 as we celebrated his 50 years in Freemasonry.

After the Lodge was opened and the minutes of the previous meeting were confirmed, WBro Andrew Proctor, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies was admitted and announced that WBro Chris Welton PSGD Assistant Provincial Grand Master, accompanied by a District Deputation, was without and that he demanded admission.

WBro Keith Maguire, the WM, offered the gavel to WBro Welton who gladly accepted it and said how very honoured and privileged he was to do so and how pleased he was to be here on this very special occasion. The APGM thanked the Brethren for their salutations.

He then introduced the Deputation which included, WBro’s Paul O’Carroll, Chairman Derby District,  Ed Beaman, Deputy Chairman Derby District, John Slater, District Mentor Derby District, Richard Zoltie, Area Communications Officer, Chris Armstrong, Deputy Area Communications Officer, Andrew Greenhalgh and Bill Lister, Royal Arch District Officers and  Andrew Proctor, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies.  Also in attendance was WBro David Hudson, Provincial Grand Almoner.

WBro Welton brought greetings from the RW PGM, Sir David Trippier, and the VWBro Dep PGM, WBro John Farrington, both of whom send their best wishes to everyone and personal congratulations to Fred.

In Freemasonry, Fred was initiated into this Volunteer Lodge No 2905 on 12 October 1967. He also joined Stoneleigh Lodge in Surrey in 1979 and was a Founder of Stoneleigh Chapter in 1983.

Fred was placed in the centre of the Lodge and WBro Welton delivered a tribute to him by recounting a biography of Fred’s life both in and out of Freemasonry. He also recounted some of the more memorable and notable events which had occurred in 1934, the year of Fred’s birth, and 1967, the year of Fred’s initiation into Freemasonry. These included – in 1934 George V was King and Ramsay MacDonald was Prime Minister of a Coalition Government. Also in 1934, Meccano introduced the first dinky toy, The Queen Mary was launched at Clydebank and the first Glyndebourne Festival Opera Season was held. Sadly for Composers, in that year, Sir Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst and Frederick Delius all passed away. Born in 1945 were Henry Cooper, Richard Briers, Tom Baker, John Noakes, Mary Quant and Dames Maggie Smith and Judi Dench.

Fred received Provincial Honours in East Lancashire in 1998 when he was made Acting Provincial Junior Grand deacon and was also given Provincial Honours in the Province of Surrey as PProvAGDC. In Chapter he was honoured with the rank of PProvAGSoj 1993 and promoted to PProvDepGReg in 2001. In Surrey he was honoured with the rank of PProvGStdB in 1994.

In 1967, the year of Fred’s Initiation, our current Queen, Elizabeth II, was on the throne and Harold Wilson was Prime Minister. In that year the UK applied to join the European Economic Community but the application was vetoed by Charles De Gaulle. 1967 saw the first North Sea gas pumped ashore and London had its first black Metropolitan Police Officer, Norwell Roberts. It was the year of the Stockport Air Disaster when a plane crashed on the centre of Stockport killing 72 passengers and crew. Sir Donald Campbell and Brian Epstein died that year.

Glasgow Celtic became the first British club to win the European Cup and Manchester United, won the First Division.

WBro Welton then invited WBro Harvey Kaye to read an extract from the Minutes of the Lodge Meeting at which Fred was Initiated and WBro Alan Pojur delivered a tribute (see below).

The APGM continued, Brethren, Fred Chorlton has been a constant and profound supporter of Life, Freemasonry and his Lodges for over fifty years. Fifty plus years supporting his Lodges and Chapter within this tremendous organisation of ours, is a fabulous milestone. It represents an accomplishment that few of us manage to achieve.

Sitting before us is a special man. We are here to applaud this Man and all that he has achieved and contributed to in Freemasonry. Brethren, it is men like this who have been the custodians of Masonry during its long history and that have enabled the Fraternity to still exist as vibrantly as it does today.

The Service he has given, the contribution he has made to meetings and social events, the knowledge and experience he has shared with the Brethren and the care he has given to other Masons, both new and the more experienced has been strong, deep and has probably touched their lives in many ways.

Sir, it is a great privilege for all of us here to join you, Fred, in celebrating your 50 years in Freemasonry

WBro Welton then read a personal letter from Sir David Trippier, the Provincial Grand Master, and presented the illuminated certificate to Fred. A lapel badge signifying 50 years in Freemasonry was presented to Fred by the District Chairman, WBro Paul O’Carroll.

Fred was then escorted around the Lodge room by the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies to the acclaim of the Brethren.

Following the alms collection, the APGM together with the District Deputation retired from the Lodge to the acclaim of the Brethren.

The Social Board was a very happy and enjoyable affair which was greatly enjoyed by the Brethren. The Lodge presented a cheque for £50 for the ELMC to the APGM who received it with thanks.

Tribute from WBro Pojur

Tribute from Volunteer Lodge 2905 to Fred on the celebration of his 50th anniversary in Freemasonary.

During the early years of his married life Fred was somewhat of an entrepreneur and ran his own engineering company. However, due to fluctuations in the market he decided to sell the company and his wife suggested they turn to farming. Although neither of them had any previous experience they moved to Devon during the early 1970’s and bought a dairy farm with about 100 cattle. They ran the farm successfully until the economic recession started to bite in the mid-1970’s. They sold the farm and moved to Surrey, where he trained as an accountant. He joined a Surrey Lodge during 1979 and after going through the “chair” he was one of the founding members of the Chapter during 1983.

He left Surrey during 2001 and moved to Manchester, where he joined Volunteer Lodge. He went through the chair during 1992, is still a member and has had over 52 years of unbroken service in freemasonry. He and his wife regularly attended Ladies Evenings. During the early years they were fully booked several weeks before the event, which was held in Bridge Street or Bowden Assembly Rooms. They started with an afternoon whist drive, with tea, coffee, sandwiches and cakes. After prize giving the guests retired to change for the “black tie” evening. It was not unusual to have a 6-8 piece band with singers, dancing to the Valeta Sequence dance, the “old fashioned waltz” and barn dance. During the Masonic break the lodge organised weekend breaks in Blackpool, St Annes, Llandudno and Southport. These were fully booked several weeks before with a waiting list. Up until the late 1990’s it was not unusual to have up to some 10 visitors and ceremonies were conducted in front of up to 50 Freemasons. As a matter of course everyone learned their ritual “off by heart” and the blue book was nowhere to be seen. We regularly had double 1sts and farmed out 2nds to our brother and sister lodges.

During c2010 the lodge ran into severe financial difficulties. It was only due to Fred’s expertise as an accountant that the lodge was saved.

It is an honour and privilege to help Fred celebrate his membership in general and with Volunteer Lodge in particular.
WBro Dr A F Pojur

 

 

Report by Richard Zoltie